Could ‘resting bitch-face’ be indicative of wealth? Yes, according to a new study from social psychologists at the University of Toronto.
The study found that certain facial expressions become etched into our faces over time as a result of life experiences. Specifically, they found that participants in the study were able to tell the difference between ‘rich’ people and ‘poor’ people just by looking at their faces.
To conduct the research, the psychologists photographed student volunteers holding a ‘neutral’ expression and grouped them according to their family income. Students whose annual family income fell below $60,000 were categorised as ‘poor’, and those with an annual family income above $100,000 were ‘rich’. (At $75,000, the average family income in Canada is significantly higher than in the UK, where on average the household income of two earning adults is £26,300).
The study found that participants were able to determine which student belonged to the ‘rich’ or ‘poor’ group with about 53% accuracy.
Try it for yourself below.
This researchers think that this research could have real-world implications when it comes to hiring practises and employment prospects. “People talk about the cycle of poverty, and this is potentially one contributor to that” said Associate Professor Nicholas Rule.
It’s worth considering that despite having a significantly lower average family income, the cost of living in the UK is much higher than in Canada – as demonstrated by this table comparing living living costs in the capital cities of both countries (calculated by Numbeo).
According to this study, then, the UK – as home to some of the poorest areas in Northern Europe – could soon be a nation of sad-looking faces.
Something to smile about indeed!